COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Things can be replaced. People cannot.
A Columbia man knows that firsthand after a thief broke into his car and took everything, including the last he has of a person he loved.
Columbia Police said Kurtis Delk is missing about $1,000 dollars in electronics after someone broke into his locked car Monday on Chester Street, which is near downtown Columbia.
It's not just the money, but something beyond special that was taken out of his car — his grandmother’s ashes.
“My entire life I’ve been brought up by three women in my life — my grandmother, my mom, and my sister,” Delk said.
Delk’s grandmother, or “Memaw” as he calls her, recently passed away due to Alzheimer’s disease.
It was this past weekend where the family traveled to North Carolina to fulfill her last wish.
“It was always her dream to have her ashes spread in the mountains while the leaves were falling,” Delk said. “My mom was able to buy a plot of land, on the river so whenever we go up to the mountains she’ll always be there with us.”
After an emotional goodbye, members of the family returned home, keeping a small part of the ashes for themselves.
Delk returned home Sunday night and he left everything from the trip in his locked car, including the ashes which were inside his suitcase. He opened his car Monday morning to a worst-case-scenario discovery.
“I wake up the next morning. I come to get in my truck to go to work and I realize that my entire front seat was cleared out,” Delk said. “The remains of such a godly and saintly woman don’t deserve to be in the hands of thieves. They deserve to be home. I felt like I just let her down. I know a lot of people say don’t blame yourself for the bad doings of others, but it’s kind of hard because I kind of think like what else could I have done differently to make this not happen?”
Even as the wound of losing a loved one is still open, he’s turning to the public for their help.
“If anybody does see the suitcase, it’s kind of like a black and red checker pattern, it’s like a little carry-on,” Delk said. “If anyone around Columbia, around Chester Street or Lincoln Street sees a small white case, it’ll say Doris Geraldine Brisson. That was her name. and I just want her back.”
Columbia Police said Kurtis is not the only victim of car theft on this street. CPD recently made an arrest for a separate auto break-in on the same street that had happened Nov. 26.
Columbia officers are asking if anyone has surveillance video that can help police identify who did this, call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME SC.